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[F21-PP] The lost and found <<The Hidden Village>>

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Spoiler

Floor 21
<<The Hidden Village>>
Recommended Level: 50+ | Repeatable
Credit Belongs to: @Hikoru

cave_town_by_iidanmrak-d5r61fj.jpg

Rewards:

  • Standard Loot:
    • 10,000 Col
    • SP (rewarded only once per player)
  • Choice-based Loot:
    • Reveal the settlement location: (T3 Weapon of Choice) <Dragon's Tooth> [+2 Accuracy, +1 Keen]
    • Keep the settlement location secret: (T3 Heavy Armor) <Dragon's Skin> [+2 Mitigation,+1 Thorns] OR (T3 Light Armor) <Dragon's Skin> : [+3 Evasion]

Requirements:

  • Fight OR Bypass the Cave Bats (Spawns in groups of 2 per player participating in the thread):
    • By Fighting: You save a person who was being held captive by the bats and they lead you to the village.
    • After Bypassing: You must roll a 15+ on the LD three times after Bypassing the bats. One for finding footprints, one for finding a hidden sign, and one for finding the village itself.
  • Find the Hidden Village.

Summary:

Rumors have been spread about a lost village that had been abandoned decades ago after the great dragon war. Now, no one knows its location anymore, but for some reason the people of Tomoika really want to find its whereabouts. The townspeople will reward you greatly if you find the location for them.

After fighting or bypassing the bats, you see some structures in the distance...

Once you get to the hidden village of Charko, its people beg you to keep their village secret, still in belief that Tesseleth is still alive, and that if their whereabouts where learned, the Tyrant would rain hell down upon them. It is your choice: to return to Tomoika and reveal their location OR keep the city of Charko secret.

Outline:
Players are presented with two options for dealing with the Cave Bats, they can either defeat them in combat or bypass them using stealth.

JtjLRGv.jpg?1

  <<Cave Bat>>'s Stats

  • HP: 1250
  • MIT: 75
  • EVA: 3
  • ACC: 1
  • Claws: On every successful hit ignores half of the target’s mitigation (rounded down).
  • Base Damage: 175
    • (BD: 9) [225] Mitigable + Paralyze.
    • (BD: 10) [275] Mitigable + Paralyze.
  • Echolocation: +2 LD when looking for players trying to Bypass them.

 


 

Notes regarding Bypass:

1: In a PP/OP, a player may attempt to skip fighting mobs if they have invested at least 1 rank in the 'Hiding' skill; by applying the stealth mechanics. A player will still need to roll X number of times, one for each mob he/she tries to bypass. A player may try to act as bait for a group, if the mob's LD is higher than the player's 'Stealth Rating', the mob will attack the player (using that same roll dices) without alerting the other mobs, making it possible to kill the mobs one by one. If a player bypasses any number of the required mobs, he/she can still go back and help the rest of the team; or try to bypass all, then leave the thread and finish the quest.

2: If a player gets attacked by a mob while the rest of the team(s) fight, the player needs to fight the mob alone until the rest finish their own fights. If a player has succeeded in getting past all the mobs, he/she will receive the rewards upon completing the quest, even if the rest of the team fails/dies. In this situation if the player is the only one to live, he/she is allowed to double post until completing the quest.

 

Baldur had heard of a hidden village on the 21st floor that could only be found by completing a quest, and that meant that Baldur had to complete the quest. He was one of those people who had to fill in their map. He didn't need every nook and cranny like many other people did, but he couldn't leave an entire settlement missing from his map. What if he needed it in the future? What if there was a clue there? The rewards weren't great, but right now he could use the experience more than anything, and it was a Tier 3 floor, so maybe he could... 

He shook his head. The one thing he had learned from his last quest was that he wasn't ready to go solo yet. Definitely not before he got his new armor. He felt naked without the mitigation. Monsters up here stepped it up. He had heard about the boss fight while he was with Lessa. He should have been there, he could have helped. But the work that he and Lessa were doing was valuable too.

Those kids need someone.

The thought brought a smile to his face as he got ready to send the messages out.

Quote

Hestia>> Hey, I've got another quest I could use your help on. I've got Calrex on the way as well. It's called <<The Hidden Village>> have you done it? I'll meet you by the teleport plaza.

Turning back to face the teleport platform, Baldur rested his left forearm on the handle of his katana, while his right hand played with the emerald matagama that hung around his neck. Teayre had made it, along with several others, for him. Hopefully she was doing okay. When he had offered to train her had not expected so much... crying. But it was good, and in the end, he had forgiven her. He should never have doubted his kouhei. Calrex knew she had a good heart, he never would have married her otherwise.

Pulling out one of his breads, Baldur sat down and pulled off several chunks to eat. The mobs on this quest were supposed to be nasty, and so he needed to bring in help until he reset his gauge.


Stats:

Spoiler

» Baldur, The Gaijin Samurai

  • Base HP: 1090
  • Base EN: 106
  • Base MIT: 79
  • Base ACC: 3
  • Base DMG: 19 (Bleed 1)(36 dmg)
  • Base EVA: 3
  • Battle Heal: 21 HP
  • Search: +0

» Items Equipped:

  • Shukketsu - +6 Damage/36 Bleed for 2 turns (on 9-10)
  • Montsuki Haori - 54 DMG MIT/+1 EVASION
  • Emerald Teardrop - +2 ACC/+1 EVASION
  • Dimensional Backpack

» Battle-Ready Inventory:

  • Medium T2 Damage Potion x1 | Rare T2 Item | +2 Damage
  • Basic Teleportation Crystal x1 | Good Item | Teleports player to the Town of Beginnings
  • Max Mass HP Recovery Crystal x5 | Perfect T2 Item | +30*Target Tier (30/60/90)
  • Max T2 HP Recovery Crystal II x5 | Perfect T2 Item | +180 HP
  • Safeguard Potion x5 | Perfect Tier 1 | Safeguard
  • Medium Vitality Snack x6 | Rare Tier 2 | Grants +8 Energy

» Skills:

  • Searching | Rank 0/5 | +0 Bonus to LD, +0 to Stealth Detect
  • Battle Healing| 2 Rank | While in combat, recover 1% per rank (21HP) at the beginning of your turn
  • Charge | 5 ranks | +1 base damage per rank (+5 damage) once per opponent per combat
  • One Handed Curved Sword | Rank 1/5 | Novice
  • Katana | Rank 5/5 | Grand Master
  • Light Armor | 5 Rank | +25 Mitigation
  • Concentration | No Ranks | Gain +1 BD for a single attack | 5 Turn Cooldown
  • Familiar Mastery: Fighter|  1 Rank | +3 base damage (Does not stack with equipment)
  • Survival | Purchased |  Increases out of combat health regen to (15xTier) 45 per post

» Mods:

  • Athletics: +1 DMG +30 HP
  •  Katana Precision: +1 to Accuracy
  •  Katana Ferocity: +1 damage on katana sword arts
  •  Sprint & Acrobatics: +1 Evasion

@Calrex @Hestia

[-1 Yui's Grace]

Edited by Baldur

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I relax upon the fourth floor taking a calming breathe as i humm softly to myself as i play on the guitar that i had received from Shield when needing a boost in my crafting. the instrument having become something i have grown to love and consider part of myself and my soul when i strum upon it to play the songs i have created or wish to play. While within my shop upon the fourth floor i hear the familiar ding of the notification that i had received a message as i glance over to it and opens it up seeing it is from Baldur. I read the contents and nods my head. As i quickly type out that i will be there to help the two players out. With that message sent i get up from the couch within my shop and whistles a sharp quick whistle the call for my familiar to come and follow me as i lead him and myself towards the main settlement of snowfrost. Rather excited to be doing my first quest with the man with the highest amount of levels within Aincrad currently. 'Going on a quest with Calrex. Time to see what the man with the most health in Aincrad is like.' I think to myself with a big grin on my face. Knowing better then to say strongest from the fact that there are others who are stronger, and the levels of a player doesn't always dictate the strength of them unless it is by a huge wide margin.

I arrive at the town of snowfrost after about half an hour of walking with my familiar by my side as i step onto the teleport pad and says the simple command phrase. Teleport, Floor 21! I say excitedly wondering what my very first actual quest upon that floor will be like. To see what kind of challenges it has when compared to the King of lakes upon floor twenty two.

@Calrex

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Calrex's Stats:

Spoiler

HP: 1765 | EN: 172 | DMG: 16 | MIT: 89 ACC: 3 |  EVA: 2 | ACH: 0.6 (See Achilles in Skills/Mods for details)

Equipped Gear:

Grand Gauntlets III: +9 Unarmed Damage

Grand Chariot III: +54 Mitigation

x1 Tide Pendant: +2 Evasion / +1 Loot Dice

Battle Ready:

x5 Safeguard Potion: 1 Attack negated

x1 Grand Legionbane: +9 Damage

Grand Guard III: +28 Thorns & +3 Heavy Momentum

x1 Basic Teleportation Crystal: Upon use, teleport to the nearest town next turn

x1 Rare Antidote: 2 Turn Immunity

x1 Uncommon Antidote: 

Skills & Mods:

Two-Handed Battle Axe [Rank 5]: Quick Change Mod

Heavy Armor [Rank 5]: Athletics Mod

Charge [Rank 5]: Bull Rush Mod

Battle Healing [Rank 5]

Block [Rank 5]

Howl

Parry

Familiar Master: Accurate [Rank 3]

Martial Arts [Rank 5]: Precision Mod / Quick Change Mod

Survival

Disguise

Meditation

Achilles [Rank 5]: 40% Damage Reduction (All Incoming Damage after MIT and Rampart/Parry reduction multiplied by 0.6 (Ex. [150 DMG - 50 MIT] * 0.6 ACH = 60)

Temporary Enhancements:

Safeguard: Negates first successful attack

It was another day, and with that another task to be accomplished. Not minutes ago the bluenette had received a message from his mentor, Baldur, requesting his assistance with a quest. This time it appeared to be one called <<The Hidden Village>>, one that Calrex couldn't recall if he had completed in the past or not. Nonetheless he was ready to offer his help. It also seemed that this excursion would have a third person by the name of Hestia, someone he recalled being present at the raids for the past few floors, but not someone he had associated with outside of those. Such a thing seemed to become rarer and rarer in his case as he unknowingly has become less social, "Could be that or I've just been less active in terms of being around as of late."

Putting his left hand into his jacket pocket the bluenette began to make his way over to the teleportation plaza, stepping into the circle before his avatar was encapsulated in light. Arriving on the 21st floor he gave a small sigh before pulling down his menu, "Guess I'd better get ready."

Multiple flashes like a light show danced around his character as he cycled his equipment to his current raid-level gear, the final effect being a light gradient that washed over his form to symbolize that he had consumed a Safeguard potion, one from the massive store that he had from his request to Rain in the past. He was prepared now, so now all that was left was to make his way to the meeting point.

Since he was no longer wearing his casual combat attire, his previously silent footsteps were now audible due to the metallic clanking of the joints in his armor, while his face was now encapsulated by the full helm of the Grand Chariot III, the only indicator of a face being the two light blue slits to mark the locations of his eyes. He kept his arms to the side, calmly letting them move back and forth unlike how he normally keeps them in his jacket pockets when out of combat zones. It seemed the only other times he could recall being out of his armor was during the raid planning meetings, and excursions when he was not serving as the main tank role such as quests alongside Shield.

@Baldur

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Baldur smiled as he was joined by Calrex and Hestia. He would definitely be safe on this quest with the two of them, now he just had to carry his weight. It wasn't often he was much lower than the people he ran with outside of raids, but it had been a while. Not since he ran with Spectrum. But then, Baldur was used to fighting outside of his weight-class. Turning his blue eyes on them both, he gave them each a respectful nod of his head.

"Thank you for coming. I think you guys know each other, but Cal, this is Hestia. Hestia, this is Calrex." He gestured from one to the other, and let them give their own greetings.

"Hopefully this quest will help me get a little more prepared for the next boss fight." His left hand unconsciously fidgeted with the kashira on his sword, as he looked around the dark cave. It reminded him of time spent on one of the lower floors. He had almost taken night vision because of it, but he never felt like he had the spare skill point investment for that. He needed to max out his damage now.

"Supposedly we just have to make this trek to find the village. I don't suppose either of you have done this quest before? Anyways, the main enemies on this floor for this quest are bats. They've got a fairly large HP pool and hit hard enough to give Hestia and pause in trying to duo it. We figured Calrex -" Baldur clasped his kouhei on the shoulder "-the might ultramarine knight, could take and give a beating, minimizing the need for team size. Hestia here can tank well enough, but she can also heal. So Cal, I'd like you on point, Hestia will back you up on heals, and I'll bring as much damage as I can. Would you rather try to AoE them down, or go single target?"

@Calrex @Hestia

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I turn my head to see the man known as Calrex wearing some impressive armor and such as i let out a low whistle at the sight of it as i grin a bit. Rather impressed with the look of it all, and being reminded of another armor set that i have seen within he past from another ally. 'Huh i guess that is just a popular design for heavy armor when it comes to the look of them.' I think to myself as i then focus back onto reality once Baldur introduces myself by name towards the blue haired warrior. It is nice to meet you Clarex the name is Hestia as you already know, and i can't wait to get to fight alongside you in this quest, and maybe get to know you better then just the highest leveled player in Aincrad at the moment. I say the tone of my voice sounding excited as i realize i have a new armor set as i quickly swap it up as my shield changes design getting rid of the medusa head in the design of the shield for jagged bits of metal in the designs of teeth. From my heavy armor changing from night and day motiff of Apollo, and Artemis' symbol to keeping the bronze color and now having depictions of lightning striking the area near my stomach with looks like the ground, and having fire underneath that ground, and having the flames curl and curve around the rest of the armor in its design upon it. I then take out the new curved sword with a smile. I'm ready for combat whenever Baldur you can count on me. I say with a big grin as i gesture for Calrex to take the lead instead since he is the tank thus the safest person to take front.

@Calrex

-Gear swap (new equipment now)
 

Spoiler

 

Prometheus' Blessing- (+45 HP when hit x3 regen_

Aegis- 2x thorns 1xrecovery

Harpe-x3 damage

 

 

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As the bluenette arrived at the meeting place he gave a nod to both of the people already present. One he knew from both in and out of the frontlines, his mentor Baldur. The other was someone he had mainly only seen in the floor raids, being Hestia, at least from what he got from the messages. Turning to face the young woman Calrex gave a a nod of his head in response to the introduction and greeting, "Pleasure to be working with you Hestia. I'll be sure to do my best to keep the both of you safe during the quest. Hopefully if things go right I'll be the only one taking the hits."

Upon hearing Baldur's plan and strategy he crossed his arms for a moment, his eyes beneath the expressionless helm scanning everyone's equipment. Baldur, being themed after traditional samurai, was wielding a katana, while Hestia seemed to be sporting a curved blade, "Haven't seen someone dedicatedly use one of those in a while. However, going from what I know of the current Sword Arts..."

"I think it might be best for everyone to focus on single target combat. I haven't done too much research into the quest, but just going from everyone's equipment we're likely short on powerful AoE Sword Arts. However I can perform an opening AoE strike that can hopefully stun the group out of the gate and spare us a turn. From there I can also switch to single target attacks and we can burst down the bats one by one while I weather the blows from the others."

Extending his arm to the side the larger gauntlet surrounding his already armor-clad forearm vanished, the Grand Gauntlets III being swapped out by the Grand Legionbane. The massive two-handed battle axe extended out like a pillar of light before manifesting into the deep sea blue weapon that seemed like a hybrid of a sword and double headed axe. Resting i against his shoulder he turned to the two, "But that's just my take. If you guys think there might be a potentially better alternative I'm all ears."

Equipment Change: Grand Gauntlets III > Grand Legionbane (No change in stats)
Sword Arts: Martial Arts > Two-Handed Battle Axe

@Baldur

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"Woah."

Baldur held up both of his hand.

"Woah woah woah."

Baldur shook his head and waved his hands back and forth.

"What the hell is this?"

He gestured at Calrex's giant two-handed axe. The weapon seemed almost as big of Baldur, who was one of the largest players in the game from what he had seen.

"When did you have time to do this too."

Letting out a world weary sigh that carefully hid an amused smile, Baldur put a hand over his face as if to massage his temples.

"You went with the axe to compensate for the fact that you only had good single target damage, didn't you. So now you've got top single target with MA, and top AOE with axe, not to mention the highest mitigation in the game because of your unique skill."

At this point, Baldur could no longer hide his playful grin.

"I am well and truly impressed, kouhei." Baldur said the final descriptor with a bemused tone to his voice. Calrex wasn't quite twice Baldur's level, but he might as well have been. The Ultramarine Kouhei had more SP than he could spend, and had long ago reached the point where his entire build was fleshed out, and he was now diversifying his build. Baldur still had yet to max out <<Charge>> which was core to his build, as well as <<Battle-Healing>> which was core to his staying alive. Though he had managed to get all of his skill mods, for the most part. He had a charge mod to get yet, but that came after the raw damage. He had a small window where it was possible for the gaijin to dominate boss fight DPS, and he needed to get there.

"Your plan sounds good though. After you howl, we can open up, and you can keep up with an AoE if we get into that. I'm also fine taking them down one at a time if they end up being... elusive targets, and begin to wear you down. But then, that's why we've got a healer."

Baldur gave a warm smile to Hestia. Maybe she didn't know, but Calrex and Baldur had epically bad luck hitting mobs when they worked together. Baldur almost always ran out of energy in fights because they worked outside of his weight class.

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I smile towards the Ultramarine player and nods my head in understanding. yeah hopefully only you have to take the hits, but if i end up taking a few it wouldn't be the end of the world since i am a tank also alongside my Healing and slight damage dealing so i can fight with the best of them. I say with the biggest smile upon my face as i gaze between the two players chuckling at Baldur's reaction towards Calrex which makes me wonder if he has truly been gone for a long time, or if Calrex is just a hard worker when it comes down to gaining levels like myself. I just nod my head along with the plan not seeing a issue with it since i am rather low on info about what this quest is about also. Well in terms of quests the only info i have regarding it is that to get towards this village is that there are some kind of bat like monsters that hunt in that area, so we'll most likely be dealing with whatever those are. I say with a shrug of my shoulder not knowing much beyond just their species and that they exist within that location. Also when it comes to the combat lets just go with whatever you guys need to do in terms of attacking and i can work on keeping you both up in terms of energy through the use of energize. Shouldn't be too difficult to do that for myself really, and it will allow you both to go all out if need be.

@Calrex

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Watching Baldur's surprised, yet knowing, reaction to his equipment change Calrex gave a small smirk beneath the emotionless helm of the Grand Chariot III. It was a good feeling to know that his mentor wasn't hurt in any particular way by him adding on a new skill to his equipment. It was after spending much time in reflection in a martial retreat. He still felt like the time seemed to fly by when he was there training, but he hoped that the things he learned and reaffirmed to himself was something to help everyone.

"Well, it was easy and not at the same time. I did end up making use of the recently unlocked skill refund system that the players found. Sadly the Grand Blade III and its predecessors are just for show at this point, as well as my experience in curved blade and katana as a result for the mods needed to make my build's system work. Maybe further down the line I might take up one of those weapons again, but for now this is what I've got to work with."

Looking over at Hestia as she spoke and voiced her own capabilities the bluenette gave a small smirk and a nod, "A hybrid tank-support build huh? You sound like you'd be one of the most durable support players out there that isn't swinging a massive weapon. I'm looking forward to how you progress. If that's the case we'll be counting on you to keep us topped off. Hopefully if things go well there won't be a need to heal me, since I've also grandmastered Battle Healing. Two Handed Battle Axe Sword Arts are definitely energy vacuums though, so the energy will be greatly appreciated."

@Baldur

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315650.jpg

Baldur smiled as they continued the small talk, and then began to lead everyone out into the tunnel that the NPC had given him. The premise of the quest was simple. There was a secret lost village in the floor, and the NPCs of the main settlement wanted to find it. To continue trade relations or... something like that. Baldur had kind of glossed over the finer points of the motivation of the NPC. The important point to him had been that this was a Tier 3 floors. Unfortunately for Baldur, nothing would con to Calrex's level, so he was stuck not getting any loot from these mobs either. He really would have to plan a hunting trip with Hirru sometime so that he could farm up some phat loot. Their last gathering expedition had been ridiculously successful, except for that whole incident where he almost got buried alive.

"You know Cal, with our strategy, I should have brought you an <<Immolation Potion>>. Liquid thorns would do you good."

As Baldur slowly picked his way through the cavern, a chamber suddenly opened up around them. They hadn't been going very far down the tunnels, but there was something different about this chamber. There seemed to be something more there.... those stalagmites weren't stalagmites. Those stalactites were connecting in unnatural methods. As they moved in, the light from some of the luminous stones changed the shadows cast around the room and began to illuminate colors. What slowly began to resolve was some semblance of structures surrounding them. Columns, not just structural, but with decorative features. There had been construction here at one point, but it seemed... abandoned. Old. Some parts of it were scorched. Some were damaged by other means.

"That's weird. I know I never spent much time on this floor before, but this looks like previous civilization."

He ran his hand along some of the columns as they began to walk through them. The material was rough hewn, like some kind of wood. But they were underground here. Could this have been brought in, or was this some kind of sunken structure. It was too dark to make out what the carvings were, with the odd, inconsistent light sources making the shadows work... or not work, was the more correct way of thinking about it.

"What do you guys make of this?"

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Yeah i am a tank and support mainly since my goal is to be the shield for players who are in need of some support when doing quests since players are in need of someone they can stand behind from danger, and i am willing to take up that mantle. To try and protect those who can't protect themselves from the dangers monster based or no. I say with a nod of my head as i look towards the Ultramarine knight with a smile. That is why i took up tanking, and i took up healing since i can try to defend everyone all day, but some i arrive to late to protect. I will instead then heal them up to make sure they aren't getting close to dying on the spot by using my healing skills to make sure that is a reality. Then i took up damage as my last little thing since i need to be able to defend myself encase i don't have somebody there to be my damage. I say with a nod of my head as i then follow Baldur quickly towards wherever our destination is meant to be leading the trio of players total towards.

At the mention of some immolation potions i glance towards Baldur and then towards Calrex as i open up my inventory and takes out a tier three immolation potion and looks towards the Ultramarine Knight. If you really want a immolation potion i can give it to you if you need one. I bought quite a few planning for some COL grinding sessions, but i think by now i'm in the green in terms of the amount i bought on my first little session of doing so. I don't mind sharing it if it means we can get further ahead with you taking less damage then need be by sharing in the damage passive damage of more thorns. I say towards the blue haired player with a kind smile on my face as i put it into his hands as if my mind was made up about whether he was going to take it or not. Once we arrive at the structure i look around curiously and tries to move closer to understand the structure as we pass by them fascinated slightly at its style trying to figure out if there is some real world equivalence that can be made.

-1 T3 Immolation Potion

@Calrex

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Spoiler

Consumed T3 Immolation Potion:

+30 Thorns

Before the bluenette could give a reply Calrex looked down to see that Hestia had already gifted him one of her immolation potions, "Well, if you insist, I appreciate the gesture. I'll make sure to pay you back for it at some point."

Crushing the item in his hand a secondary red aura washed over his avatar for a moment, "Not gonna lie I haven't used a Thorns consumable before, since I've been too accustomed to having it as an enhancement on the Grand Chariot armors. Guess it may prove to be useful later on. Don't think I'll ever turn into a walking porcupine like Shield and Tristan do, but the extra bit of damage may help to increase my overall damage output."

Adjusting the resting point of the Grand Legionbane on his shoulder the Ultramarine Knight's focus was not currently focused on what Baldur and Hestia were inspecting. He did notice that the overall structure of the columns didn't match up with their current surroundings, but right now he decided to leave the detective work to his teammates while he remained on lookout. While both of them were more than capable of taking a hit from whatever came at them from the shadows, Calrex wasn't planning on letting the monsters get an opening strike if possible.

It seemed they were in the clear for now, but the dancing patterns of the lights reflecting off and through the gaps in the columns was making it difficult to track any movements in the distance. There were natural light sources that helped to illuminate the darkness, making it not as disorienting like the tenth floor naturally was. However, they didn't help with discerning moving objects from stationary ones, "Better be ready to use Howl right when I see any physical forms enter into the light."

@Baldur

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Baldur wandered about the strange structure... perhaps calling it a structure was a bit much, but it fascinated him. The artistry of it was beautiful, and it definitely seemed like an event location. Some designer wouldn't have put this much time into a random location. The principle of Chekov's Gun held true in this game as in any other, though the Cardinal system could surprise you, creating art assets was a laborious, cost intensive slog. It cost millions and took years, especially to get the polish to this level. Baldur could remember following the development of SAO with baited breath for years before he and Tyger finally got their hands on the Nervegear.

...

"Did you hear something?"

Baldur held up a hand to silence Cal and Hestia, even though he had just asked them a question and listened even harder.

"I could have sworn I heard something..."

He moved deeper into the shadows and away from Calrex and Hestia, unconcerned about safety. Baldur wasn't foolhardy enough to think he was invincible, but he was confident enough in his over-leveling to be relatively certain that nothing could kill him before he could get out, or his friends could get him out of harms way. Baldur always carried a teleport crystal with him, but more importantly, he always carried a few healing crystals and good friends with him. He always maintained a factor of safety.

"It sounded like a voice. Did anyone else hear it?"

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I look around the area with a smile admiring everything that is around and keeping myself ready for a fight as i hold sword and shield ready to strike at anything that would be trying to come attack the trio. I gaze around and do spend the time enjoying the architecture trusting in my familiar to watch my back for any surprise attacks from any ninjas or such. Being reminded of the places of the Arabian nights where there were plenty of thieves with the skill sets of ninjas lurking around every corner. 'Though that does beg the question once more. Why hasn't there been like a edo period of Japan floor where shoguns and such thrived..or whenever that was in Japan's history.' I think to myself in some silent contemplation before being shaken out of it by hearing Baldur's words as i prepare my shield and sword for a fight that could end up dangerously. If it is a voice Baldur i wouldn't trust it with anything. Cause if it is a voice could be a player in need yes, but i would fear it could lead towards a trap. Summary a careful approach is needed with Cal taking point if we want maximum success in helping the player out if it is one, or to survive if it could be a PKer trap or monster trap. I say just wanting to be careful since this location seems a bit far out then the usual routes and locations for grinding that i know of.

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A single moment went by that seemed to cause a shift in the atmosphere of the group and the area they were in. Even though they were all more than qualified to deal with whatever monsters they encountered, it felt like the air grew heavy, as if they were perceiving an actual threat, something that could more than likely be fatal. If he was being honest, any encounter in SAO could technically be fatal, but since most fights had many built in parameters as a result of the Cardinal system and the hard code of the game, such things were easily dispelled. However, because of the actions of his teammates, he felt himself also going on some form of high alert.

Seeing Baldur raise his hand to request silence the bluenette refrained from speaking, even going so far as to lighten his breathing so that it wouldn't make an audible sound. Saing he heard a voice certainly gave reason for caution and concern, whether or not the source was NPC or monster. Calrex had seen more than enough films where the predator would use a familiar sound of voice to bait its prey towards their doom.

Making his way over to his two companions the blunette calmly lowered his massive axe from his shoulder, placing it forward almost like a barrier to keep them from moving past him. Bending down slowly so that his armor would note shift and make a noise he turned slightly towards the gaijin samurai, "Whether or not the source of the voice is a threat, it's certainly out of place for this area. We're supposed to be encountering monsters here, not humans. I didn't get a chance to check with a info broker before coming here, but I did overheard from other players in passing making my way here that there was an optional alternative route to fighting the bats. If that was the case then the designers must have given a some kind of incentive for people to actively engage the monsters instead of that alternative, which could mean NPCs we have to rescue. Wouldn't be the first time we'd have to rescue someone from bats after all."

Getting back to standing upright the bluenette gave a nod to Hestia, "We'll head slowly towards the source, but stay low so that we can assess the situation before going on. We know out team duties, but any advantage we can get over the foes we might face will be useful."

@Baldur

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Baldur nodded at the two as they warned him about going on alone, but that just meant he paused long enough for them to catch up. He worked his way deeper. He wasn't really going into a darker corner, but the odd lighting cast odd patches of darkness around the irregularly shaped cavern chamber. The columns, while beautiful, blocked the light in odd ways, and since the light was not man-made or even man-located, it gave the chamber a dizzying effect.

"Over here!"

Baldur focused his eyes into the darkness and saw the familiar marking crystal of a non-aggro NPC.

"It's an NPC."

He couldn't tell anything more than the model shape, since it's texture was hidden in the darkness, but his words seemed to provoke it and it suddenly began to move.

"No! Wait!" Baldur cried out as it tried to run, but he cut it off. What was an NPC doing out here? "We're not here to hurt you."

The words seemed strange to Baldur. It was an NPC, it was either a non-combat version, or else they were there to hurt it. There wasn't much in between, but most of the non-combat NPCs tended to stay in the village.

"What? Who-who are you?" The nervous voice called out after a surprised squeak at Baldur cutting her off.

"Baldur." He said simply, "We're... er... adventurers of the.. uh.. human empire." Baldur wracked his brain. What am I saying? I'm not here to role-play. The game had been designed with a narrative, an immersive role-player's dream, but they were in a death game, so role-playing a character was hardly a past-time when your life was on the line, but sometimes using the lore of the tower helped with the NPCs.

"Humans? Down here? Then... is it true? We're... not alone anymore? Ever since the magic began to fail... we were... cut off... trapped... and at the mercy of the Dragon and its knights."

Apparently the timeline of this quest took place before Tesseleth was killed by the raid team. Would that affect the story at all?

Baldur looked over his shoulder towards Calrex and Hestia.

"It's an NPC. What do you make of her? She looks to be one of the cavern dwellers..."

The NPC's face furled up in offense. "Cavern dwellers?! Don't talk about me like a lesser creature who isn't standing right in front of you!"

Baldur, wide eyed, looked horribly embarrassed at the NPC's words.

@Hestia @Calrex

Edited by Baldur

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I glance towards the NPC that the group manages to find as i raise an eyebrow at that rather confused about he entire thing. 'A human NPC down all the way here? How would that make any sense at all. They are in their towns and such with only some exceptions if the game is wanting to do some kind of event, so this is making no sense at all. Maybe an event within the quest?' I think to myself curiously as the NPC talks about a former dragon, and some kind of knights as i gain a slightly confused look as i rub the back of my head. Quickly gaining a look of recollection as i remember the floor boss. Ohhh the NPC means the dead Tesseleth guy that you guys killed. I say turning to Calrex when i say you guys. I then turn to Baldur and gives a nod of my head. I think this could possibly be something involving the quest that we are going on. That this could be some kind of clue for the information that we are lacking about what we are meant to be doing right? If we follow this NPC, or at least ask it more about how it got here we can maybe figure out what to do. I say towards the two players with me just stating my own opinions of the matter as i relax slightly and keeps a strong lookout for anything be it flying or ground. Having my familiar aid me by flying high along the ceiling of the cavern to give a indication via roars or something of the sort to give a warning.

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Calrex raised an eyebrow beneath his expressionless helm at the NPC's scripted words, "Guess we really are going out of sync for this particular quest. Since Tesseleth is already eliminated, it would technically render this NPCs plight moot."

Calmly lowering the Grand Legionbane to his side, one of the two large striking heads making contact with the ground lightly, the bluenette listened as Baldur interacted with the AI, giving a small laugh at his mentor's off-guard reaction to the villager's quick defensive response. His small bit of entertainment now quickly over he immediately went back to observing the environment. It still seemed like if there were any monsters in the area, they were not yet being triggered or drawn to their position. In some ways this put him even further on alert than if there were some on the way.

Since Baldur was the one seemingly heading the interactions with the villager Calrex merely gave a nod, "If we are going to have a conversation, we'd better keep the volume down. I still am not seeing any movement nearby, which could mean that any enemies that are around are hiding in a set position or haven't caught on to us already. Either way if might be a good idea to have one of us on each side to make sure we don't get ambushed from an unprotected side."

Using his right foot he kicked his axe up so that it stopped straight upwards, allowing him to rest the bladeless handle of the weapon against his shoulder.

@Baldur

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The NPC glanced around at Calrex and Hestia as they spoke back and forth about it and their situation, but never address the NPC itself, and so the figure suddenly rushed forward and started poking at Calrex's armored chest, causing a warn, ragged finger to rap audibly on the metal plate.

"Don't talk about me like I'm not here! You are certainly RUDE for people who supposedly chase me down to help me and then talk about me like I'm some kinda monster who doesn't know what the sky looks like."

Baldur, still wide eyed, just shrugged when the woman leveled an accusing glare at him, and then at Hestia.

"I don't know what you're talking about, but just because that big dumb dragon is dead, doesn't mean the entire world crumbles down around it!"

The woman's indignant tirade crescendoed until it echoed from the walls. She truly seemed irate at their treatment of her.

"Look, I'm sorry I--" Baldur tried to quiet the woman down, wary of attracting the attention of mobs when suddenly a screech sounded, loud enough to cause Baldur to uselessly cover his ears as the sound caused pain like nails on a chalkboard.


Hestia: ??
Calrex: ??
Baldur: HP: 1090/1090 EN: 106/106 MIT: 79/39 EVA: 3

Cave Bat 1: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 2: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 3: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 4: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)

@Hestia @Calrex

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I watch the NPC start freaking out as i chuckle slightly at its antics, but does feel a slight pang of guilt since it does look life like enough for me to feel bad for ignoring another human being. I then hear the ear destroying screech as i just look towards the source and see four bat like creatures as i sigh softly as i look towards them. I just take out my sword and shield and prepare for a fight of some kind. Trusting that Calrex will be able to take the damage from this, and considering how Baldur didn't attack leaves me with only one option of what to do since i'm not going to waste this opportunity. I look towards the one that seems the closest and quickly charges towards it getting my blade into the position where the system can then just guide me through the motions of the sword art. I quickly go to strike at the bat with a flurry of strikes, but just as i get close enough for my blade almost to touch it the creature quickly flies out of the way by going upwards. I sigh softly, but just nods my head completely use to this since i don't have any accuracy at all. You're up Cal.

#101434 BD:6-3=3 miss  -2 ENG  CD:8  +3 ENG

Action Taken: Legion Destroyer on Bat 4

Baldur: HP: 1090/1090 EN: 106/106 MIT: 79/39 EVA: 3

Hestia: 1425/1425  ENG: 138/138  MIT:151 DMG: 16 EVA:-1  Regen: 3 on CD:6  Recovery: heal 45 HP when hit BH: heal 57 HP Thorns:54
@Calrex: ??

Cave Bat 1: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 2: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 3: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)
Cave Bat 4: 1250/1250 MIT 75 EVA 3 ACC 1 DMG 175 | 225 + Para | 275 + Para (ignores half mit)

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